Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Analog Headset Review


Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Analog Headset Review


Much of what we said about the Kave XTD 5.1 Digital holds true for the Analog. Indeed the changes are solely connectivity based.

So the sound quality is good with an excellent surround effect thanks to the Kave being a genuine 5.1 headset rather than some software doohickey. The Roccat Kave has always has good sound reproduction and the XTD Analog is no exception. Bass is particularly good thanks to the 30mm vibration driver and 40mm speakers. The clarity of the midrange is good too, and the highs, although not as crystal clear as we've heard from other units, are still good. If you really want a surround headset then you could do a lot worse than look at the Kave XTD.

Why then are our good points so relatively brief?

The original Kave was built like a tank. It was solid and had plenty of adjustment to ensure a comfortable fit. It might have weighed around the same as the Titanic, but weight is not the only issue when it comes to comfort. Everyones head is a slightly different size and shape so having the largest amount of axes gives the most comfortable fit and distributes the aforementioned weight evenly. Judging from the Roccat product information it appears that the biggest complaint by far was the weight, so Roccat have done everything possible to trim grams here and there until the Kave 5.1 XTD Analog is slimmer than a supermodel.

This has, in our opinion, come at a price too steep to pay. No longer are the height adjustment arms made of metal but now they are plastic. Indeed all of the Kave is plastic. It feels, dare we say it, a little cheap. Probably the deal breaker for us is the woeful lack of adjustment. The headband foam is pretty firm so there isn't much movement there. The ear-pieces though only move through the vertical axis. No sideways movement at all. If you compare the hinges on the original Kave link in the paragraph above to the hinges of this you'll see that the Kave XTD 5.1 Analog is like a statue to the original Kave's ballerina flexibility. What this all means is that - despite being much lighter than the first Kave - the XTD isn't particularly comfortable to wear. This lack of comfort isn't helped by the firm ear pads.

The in-line remote is feature-laden, giving you the possibility to adjust each volume individually as well as the overall volume. Roccat advertise this as a dual-mode remote. In actuality this means you can either clip it to your clothes or slip it into the desk holder. I suppose you could do neither which would make it a triple-mode remote. This is a good idea, especially given that most of us will use the Kave at home. The stand isn't particularly heavy though, and despite having a notch in the back of the clip there isn't a corresponding one in the stand, so the remote just kinda sits there rather than locking in. Not a problem if you're carefully adjusting the volume, but a real pain if you're doing it in the heat of the moment.

It might seem that we're being overly critical of the Kave XTD 5.1 Analog, especially comparing it to a headset that's 5 years old. But that's the problem. In five years this has become lighter, but less comfortable, less robust and less adjustable. The sound quality is just as good as ever. Let there be no doubt about that. Unfortunately in every other respect the newest Kave is whipped by the oldest one and so it only attains our OC3D Bronze award. Bring multiple axes adjustment back to the hinges, make the remote stand more stable and the foam more pliant, and this could be a star.

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